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SCO Foreign Ministers Meet

(epa) May 15, 2006 -- The foreign ministers of the six countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are holding talks today in the Chinese city that gave the group its name.

The meeting of the ministers from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan comes in advance of next month's scheduled summit of heads of state of the six countries.

The foreign ministers were expected to discuss regional security issues, among them international tensions over the Iranian nuclear program. China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, have resisted imposing tough measures aimed at forcing Iran to halt uranium enrichment.

It wasn't immediately clear if Iran, which is an official observer to the SCO, sent a representative to today's meeting.


Uzbekistan, Russia, And The West

Uzbekistan, Russia, And The West

President Karimov (left) with Russian President Putin in July 2005 (epa)

BETWEEN EAST AND WEST: One of the ramifications of the May 2005 bloodshed in Andijon has been a souring of relations between Tashkent and the West, accompanied by a raproachment between Uzbekistan and Russia. Following sharp U.S. and European criticism of the Andijon crackdown, Uzbekistan kicked the United States out of the Karshi-Khanabad air base and began actively courting Moscow.
"Today, we are reaching an unprecedented level in our relationship," Uzbek President Islam Karimov said during a November 2005 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at which the leaders signed a strategic-partnership agreement. "I understand and we all understand in Uzbekistan that it is unprecedented that Russia signs such a partnership agreement with Uzbekistan."


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The Geopolitical Game In Central Asia

Uzbekistan: Between East And West

Central Asia: Russia And U.S. Often At Odds In Region

Russian, U.S. Military Bases On Opposite Tracks

Swiss Spokeswoman Explains Arms Ban On Uzbekistan

Putin Defends Ties With Uzbekistan, Belarus, Iran

Uzbekistan: Playing Russia Against The West

Factbox Of Uzbek-Russian Relations

THE COMPLETE STORY: A dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of the events in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in May 2005 and their continuing repercussions.


For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.